There are two main Universal LifeLine Telephone Service discounts in California. There are discounts from the California LifeLine Program (California LifeLine) and from the federal Lifeline program (federal Lifeline). All qualified California households may take advantage of these telephone discount programs to help lower the cost of their phone bills. The California LifeLine Administrator administers both the California LifeLine Program and the federal Lifeline program.

Only one discount per household for each residential address is allowed (except for teletypewriter users and for Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program participants). Each household must choose to get the discount either on a home phone or on a cell phone, but not on both. Households cannot get the discount from multiple phone companies. Households that do not follow the one discount per household rule will lose their discounts.

California LifeLine
  • Monthly flat rate service discount = up to $12.65*
  • Monthly measured rate service discount = up to $12.65*
  • Monthly cell phone service discount = $5.75 or $12.65**
  • Service connection discount = up to $39
  • Service conversion discount = up to $39
  • Exempt from paying the public purpose program surcharges, CPUC’s user fee, federal excise tax, local franchise taxes, and State 911 tax associated with their telephone service.
  • Discounts on two telephone lines for teletypewriter (TTY) users and Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program participants are allowed. The person who uses a TTY must have immediate and continuous access to it. If the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program did not give the TTY, a COPY of a medical certificate indicating the person’s need for a TTY is required to receive the discount on the second home phone line.
Federal Lifeline
  • Monthly federal service discount = up to $9.25
  • No discounts for service connection or conversion***
  • Limited term monthly discount for toll limitation = $2.00
  • To learn more about the federal Lifeline wireless plans in general, go to federal Lifeline wireless in California.
*Does not account for Extended Area Service rates, which provides a higher support for service providers.
**For cell phone plans with 501 to 999 voice minutes, which may include domestic messaging or text, the monthly discount is $5.75.
**For cell phone plans with at least 1,000 voice minutes, which may include domestic messaging or text, the monthly discount is $12.65.
***There is a limited service connection discount for enhanced LifeLine participants.